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Much Ado About Nothing


Don Pedro to woo Hero on Claudio's behalf. Counter Plot: Sir John the Bastard seeks to foil the marriage. Act II. Three Deceits ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing
  • Dr. Alan Haffa

Act I
  • Return from War
  • Beatrice and Benedick
  • Hero and her Father
  • Claudio and Hero
  • Don Pedro to woo Hero on Claudios behalf
  • Counter Plot Sir John the Bastard seeks to foil
    the marriage

Act II
  • Three Deceits
  • Don Pedro woos Hero for Claudio
  • Don Pedros plan to trick B and B into falling in
  • Don John and his men agree on a plan to trick

  • Beatrice tricked by Hero and Ursula
  • Don John tells Don Pedro that he can prove Hero
    is unfaithful
  • The nightwatch overhear and capture the
  • Hero and Benedick are in love
  • The watch try to tell Leonato about Borachios
    arrest but he doesnt understand

Act IV
  • Wedding Fiasco
  • Benedick and Beatrice confess love
  • Benedick challenges Claudio
  • Guards question Borachio and Conrade

Act V
  • Heros Death
  • Benedick issues a challenge to duel
  • Dogberry enters with prisoners and truth is
  • Claudio sings an epitaph at Heros tomb and is to
    marry her niece
  • Hero arrives at wedding masked
  • B and B to marry out of mutual pity
  • Claudio is forgiven by all and a double marriage

Question 1
  • Does the play present a true depiction of love?
    Compare and contrast the two loving couples, Hero
    and Claudio and Beatrice and Benedick.

Question 2
  • How has love and marriage changed from the era of
    the play to the present?
  • Catholic ideas of chastity and marriage and women
  • Reformation ideas of love and women
  • Play reflects the tension of these two world

Question 3
  • What choice or role do women have with respect to
    love? (Hero, Beatrice). Why do the mothers of
    the two heroines not appear in the play? How
    would it be different if they did?

Question 4
  • Is Don Johns deception for the purpose of
    dissolving love worse than the deception of the
    others to create love?
  • 1) Prince woos falsely for Claudio
  • 2) Claudio/Prince/Leonato trick Benedick
  • 3) Hero/Ursula trick Beatrice
  • 4) Borachio/Don John trick Claudio
  • 5) Friar/Hero/Leonato pretend Hero is dead

Question 5
  • Why do fools (Doggberry et al) see truly what the
    nobles do not?
  • Do education and culture make us more susceptible
    to deception in some ways?
  • How do the various deceptions work? Dont they
    play upon peoples pre-conceptions?

Question 6
  • Why is the play Much Ado about Nothing? The
    plot almost leads to a family disgraced,
    political strife, friends ready to duel. It
    seems like serious business about Something!

Question 7
  • Like many Shakespeare comedies, the play includes
    abundant joking and punning surrounding female
    infidelity. For all the jokes about cuckoldry,
    the play seems to take this issue seriously as
    the suggestion that Hero was not faithful has
    severe consequences. How is it possible for
    something the culture takes so seriously to be
    such a common motif for humor in the play?

Scenes of Infidelity and Misogyny
  • 1.1.102-3 Leonato implies that the legitimacy of
    Hero is based on her mothers assertions
  • 1.1.234-40 Benedick trusts no woman
  • 5.4.126 Don Pedro tells B. to get thee a wife.
    There is no staff more reverend than one tipped
    with horn.

Why the focus on Female Infideltity in a
Love/Marriage Comedy?
  • Common motif in Shakespeare and the era
  • Othello Winters Tale
  • Male anxiety about wifely fidelity in an era when
    legitimate inheritance of lands, wealth,
    property, rank, and name are at stake.
  • Society order requires a marriage as much as
    dramatic closure female infidelity is a natural
    dramatic tension to exploit.

  • Much Ado about Nothing is really much ado about
    something very importantmarriage and female
    fidelity the cornerstone of social stability.
    The contrasting couples shows two competing
    views one naïve and idealistic, the other
    experienced and realistic. Yet the theme of
    deception complicates this reading too. Beatrice
    and Benedick were tricked into lovingare they
    really so discerning? How can one deception be
    good and another bad? Is the theatre itself, a
    place where deception flourishes, compromised?
    In the end this play raises more questions than
    it answers.